Solo parenting is hard. It’s a minefield and locating a support bubble as a newly single parent is vital. Making mistakes is a given. But being a dad is the best!
When I came into my partner’s life, he was a single dad. He and his wife had decided to part ways when their son was just 18 months old.
A year and a half later, I’ve learnt lots about solo-parenting from a man who is an amazing father and continues to inspire me each and every day. I’m going to share some lessons I think might be helpful to single dads, looking to stay sane whilst gluing your life back together.
Believe in Yourself and Take it Easy
First and foremost, no matter how much of a failure you might think you are, no matter how little confidence you have in your own ability to be a father, your kids still see you as their dad. This is a new start. A chance to really become the best version of yourself for the sake of your kids.
You’re going to forget things. You might not know how to do everything to start out with. But you can learn. Google and YouTube are about to become your best friends. Begin to slowly get a routine in place, a way of doing things at dads place. It might be different for both of you to start out, but different can be exciting. It’s an adventure for both of you.
You’re going to have to quit striving for perfection. Just when you think you’re nailing it and everything is under control, you’ll soon realise it isn’t. Just keep going.
It’s not helpful to anyone if you’re beating yourself up. There will be days where all your energy is drained, and the guilt can weigh heavy. Those are the days you’re going to need to talk kindly to yourself and say ‘you know what, I got through today. My kid still loves me, I love them, and we’re on a journey together’.
Pick up and Drop off Days
Oh my gosh these days can be a roller-coaster of emotions and there are no rights or wrongs. In the early days my partner says he used to feel overwhelmingly nervous on pick-up days and a devastating amount of guilt on drop-off days.
Learning to handle the anxieties of being solo with your child can be challenging, but time is a healer. My partner often comments on how things have become easier with time. Particularly the sadness on drop-off days.
Now we have a home together, and drop-off days are still hard to manage. The house feels painfully quiet after the noise and energy of a three-year old leaves. So we make a habit of getting out of the house once his son has left, or we can both fall into a slump.
Having to deal with the realisation that you’re sharing your child with another household can be one of the single hardest things to deal with. However, we both take comfort in the fact that his son is incredibly happy with two sets of family and two very happy homes. Not to mention, double the toys!
Pick your Battles
Life is hard enough without having an argument with your three-year old about the fact that he doesn’t want to wear what you’ve picked out for him. Or that he wants an extra chicken nugget every now and again. Give up control on the small things and save your energy for the rest of the day.
Things don’t have to be hectic and rushed; choose the best way to handle the meltdowns and take things one step at a time in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
Time is Precious
It might seem obvious but now that time with your child is shared, time is even more precious than ever. Making memorable moments is everything. Get out and about. Explore the local area. Even if it’s just for a walk or building a den. Get busy. And get mucky, because let’s be honest, the best days are the muddy welly days.
Because you can’t be together all of the time - you’ll start appreciating the little things and making the most of your time together.
Baby Wipes ... Your New Gold Dust
Baby wipes were everywhere when I first started visiting my partner’s flat. I assumed they were used for the obvious, it transpires that my partner had an intense obsession with baby wipes. He’d clean the entire flat with them.
I mean to be fair, they’re really strong and absorbent because they’re made to be thick enough to clean babies’ hands, faces and bottoms. In fact, baby wipes are downright great! But if your home is crying out for a little more than a baby wipe, then look no further.
We understand that balancing life and single parenting is a bit crazy. Keeping on-top of work, a household, and all the other eventualities that come with single parenting is just outright tough.
Elegantini can support single parents through these tough times, not only do we clean, we can provide a bespoke service to best suit you and your family. We can help out with the school run, evening meals, washing and ironing, we housekeepers, it’s in the name.
Life isn’t once size fits all – and we know it.
Get in touch and our friendly team will be happy to help